The Dosadi Experiment by Frank Herbert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
While I think I may have preferred the previous ConSentiency Universe novel more than The Dosadi Experiment, but that may be more because I prefer linguistics and math-crazy plus-dimensional aliens over most other ideas.
However. This novel is pretty damn fascinating on its own, but for completely different reasons. I don't normally see hard-SF novels revolving around Alien Law. Or economics. Or psychology. Or a whole world that is a social and biological experiment writ very, very large.
This is Frank Herbert, after all. When he runs with ideas, he really runs with them, doubling down and throwing in ever more complicated twists and complications and worldbuilding that is always on target and propels the main plot.
I DO believe that there are a few flow issues with this novel, but not serious ones. I DO think the themes of overpopulation pressures, male/female and identity fiction, writ in alien biologies, alien psychology, or the results of the pressures of the experiment, itself, is done VERY well.
I see tones of the male/female question from Dune and major overpopulation issues explored by Silverberg and Brunner and PKD. Herbert is very aware of the SF conversation going on and, in my humble opinion, attacks it in some of the very smartest ways.
When I judge novels by Frank Herbert, I judge them by his own novels, not by the full SF field. He really belongs in a level of his own.
View all my reviews